Bring back some good or bad memories

December 25, 2019

Good Houses Spoiled by Bad Painting: The Wrong and the Right Colors to Put on a Home, 1912

Does one of these houses look better than the other to you? Do you prefer the mustard color or the white? Well, the April 1912 issue of the Ladies’ Home Journal held a definite opinion. The mustardy-yellow one was hideous!


Like a lot of vintage “good/bad” example articles in antique issues of the Ladies’ Home Journal, the bad examples are on the left and the good on the right. Please be sure to read the text that goes with the pictures in the complete article below, and compare how your opinion fits in with those of the writer!

Left: “No fewer than five colors are used on this house, and they do not harmonize. Not does the mustard color wear well under climatic conditions. The entrance pitch, painted white, has the appearance of being a structure separate from the house.”

Wright: “Here is the same house which is painted in two colors and white. The effect is most harmonious––quiet and refined––as the colors blend with the surrounding foliage. The house has now become part of a charming picture.”

Left: “This strong, raw color, so often used, causes the house to stand out in baldness, and holds the attention by its very ugliness. The lines of the design are good, but the eye does not at first appreciate them because of the color.”

Wright: “Look at the same house treated with colors which serve to make it harmonize with Nature. It looks refined and inviting. The good lines of the design are emphasized by the contrasting green and white. The house “fits” into its surroundings.”

Left: “In this case the house looks as if the upper part had been actually stuck on. The house itself is simple and of very good lines, but the contrasting vivid paints give it an appearance of ugliness which is quite offensive to the observer.”

Wright: “Now see how quiet and refined is this same house. You get the sense that the house is well balanced, and, because of the soft coloring. It has taken on a cheerful, hospitable aspect which is lacking in the other picture.”

Left: “Why need there be such ugly contrast of colors between the first and second stories that spoils so many good houses? This scheme of painting gives a house the appearance of having been built in sections and then put together.”

Wright: “See house much harmonious is this effect, which has been obtained by using one color for the house and one for the roof. How much better the windows look in the second story. Now the house looks as if it was one building.”

(via The Vintage Site)

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